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Nationally representative data indicate that cannabis use and chronic pain are both highly prevalent in young adults aged 18-24. Preliminary research suggests that young adults use cannabis for pain relief. Additional research regarding the motives and expectancies of cannabis use in this population are needed to better understand the associations among cannabis use motives, expectancies of cannabis use and chronic pain in young adults. The purpose of this study was to extend prior work on pain, cannabis use motives and expectancies in young adult cannabis users in order to inform efforts towards prevention and intervention for both cannabis use and chronic pain. Young adults aged 18-24 were recruited for this study using an online convenience sampling platform, Amazon’s MTurk, where participants were recruited in exchange for monetary compensation. Participants completed a series of validated psychological measures regarding pain (Graded Chronic Pain Scale), cannabis use motives (Marijuana Motives Questionnaire) and expectancies for cannabis use (Marijuana Effect Expectancy Questionnaire). Multiple linear regressions were run to test associations between cannabis variables and chronic pain. Gender by pain interactions were evaluated to test for gender differences within the multiple linear regression models. After controlling for relevant sociodemographics and hazardous cannabis use, pain was uniquely associated with coping, conformity, expansion, routine and pain motives (ps ≤ 0.002). Additionally, pain was associated with expectancies for global negative effects (p = 0.000). These findings suggest that although young adults who experience pain may expect greater negative effects of cannabis use (e.g., mood swings, carelessness, short-tempered) they may also hold unique pain-related motives for their cannabis use. Researchers and clinicians should consider assessing pain in the context of cannabis use studies and interventions.



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Associations Among Motives for Cannabis Use, Expectancies of Cannabis Use and Chronic Pain in a Young Adult Sample